The manufacturing sector in the US weakened slightly in the month of August, and the sector as a whole was still in contraction, according to the Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index. The ISM tracks the breadth of growth across firms, asking purchasing managers if business is better this month than last. The PMI came in at 49.9%, down from 50.0% in July. Economists had forecast a number at exactly 50%. Readings above 50% indicate growth, and anything below, contraction. It is the lowest reading since May.

The August new-orders index rose to 48.3% from 45.0% in July, the ISM’s data showed. The production index fell in August to 52.1% from 52.9%.

Five of the 18 industries included in the survey were expanding in August, while seven industries were contracting.

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